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PARK VISITORS VS BEACH TOURISTS A COMPARATIVE STUDY IN AN ITALIAN COASTAL REGION
Salvatore Bimonte a *
a University of Siena, Department of Political Economy, Piazza S. Francesco 7, 53100 Siena, Italy, tel: + 39 0577 235053, fax: + 39 0577 232661, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
* Corresponding author

Abstract

    This study investigates and discusses the controversial question of whether nature-based tourists (NBTs) are more sensitive to socio-cultural and environmental resources, have different attitudes toward local products and more positive economic effects on host communities and destinations than beach tourists (BTs). In order to test these aspects, a simultaneous  comparative analysis of these two types of tourist based on an a priori and activity-based segmentation was carried out. Data was collected by questionnaire at two sites in the Maremma (a costal area in southern Tuscany, Italy), each specific to the type of tourist investigated. In line with the findings of other studies, the results confirm that NBTs are older, more educated, more affluent, and more often employed in professional occupations than BTs. They also confirm the hypothesis that NBTs are more sensitive to environmental quality and have a more positive socio-economic impact. This study likewise highlights the strong role played by psychographic information in explaining tourist behavior. Three innovative findings concerning the relationship between income, education, personal commitment to the environment and tourist type are discussed at the end.
 
European Journal of Тourism Research